Dr. William K. Emery

Dr. William K. Emery


Dr. William K. Emery, 90, of St. Joseph, Michigan passed away on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 surrounded by his loving family.

“Dr. Bill” Emery grew up in old St. Joe on Lake Blvd., the son of Dr. Clayton and Sarah Emery. The Emery home was open to all the son’s friends, and growing up there with brothers Richard and Robert – sports, science, arts, and music were all part of the fun. Bill was President of St. Joseph High School Class of 1942, and met the love of his life, Arlene, when she was a hall monitor and he was tardy for music class. Bill completed medical studies at the University of Michigan, married Arlene, and welcomed his first daughter, Virginia during residency. Bill served as a First Lieutenant  in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Germany, where he ran a MASH unit, and added a son, Thomas, to the family.

Bill and Arlene returned to St. Joseph, built their home near the hospital, and added their youngest daughter, Sarah. Bill joined his father, Dr. Clayton Emery, in the office over the Uptown Drugstore, with a medical practice (including Bill’s grandfather, Dr. Willard Emery) that ultimately extended over 100 years. Dr. Bill’s reputation was a great family doctor, but his special gift was delivering babies. Year in, year out, the phone would ring in the middle of the night, and off he’d go. He loved all the families that he’d come to know growing up and in practice, and found great satisfaction in helping everyone through life’s events, the good and the bad.

Dr. Bill was a man of almost uncountable interests – a musician who played multiple instruments, whether in Steve Upton’s dance band in High School, or the Michigan Marching Band (Sousaphone), class photographer in high school, a lifelong golfer, a naturalist, a geologist, a Rotarian. He loved the time he spent working for the Whirlpool Corporation, starting as Plant Doctor in the 50′s, and finishing as Corporate Medical Director for the last ten years of his career. He and Arlene traveled the Americas, Asia and Europe, they loved winters in Key Largo and Green Valley. He embraced and was honored for his commitment to lifelong learning, whether Western Michigan, LMC or Elderhostel. Dr. Bill had a special place in his heart for Chuck Nelson of Sarett Nature Center, and dedicated himself before and after retirement to Sarett’s mission, and equally to the Berrien County Board of Health, both of which recognized and honored him for his many efforts.

While he volunteered all over and kept very busy, Dr. Bill always had time to stop and ask you, “how are you doing, what can I do to help?”  .

Dr. Emery is survived by his wife of 68 years, Arlene Emery; his brother Robert (Phyllis) Emery of Chevy Chase, MD; his children, Virginia (Gregory) Heinerich of Benton Harbor; Thomas (Mary Ellen) Emery of Dearborn; Sarah (Amy) Emery of Minneapolis. He is proceeded in death by his brother, Richard Emery. Bill was very close to Arlene’s family – Virginia & John Globensky and Marge & Bill Desenberg  - and mourning his loss are the families of Mark and Janet Globensky Zielke, Margaret Ann Desenberg, Louis & Cathy Desenberg, and James & Helen Desenberg.

The family extends its thanks and appreciation to everyone at Caretel and Lakeland Medical, and in particular to loving caregiver Deborah Ward, RN.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11: 00 A.M. on Friday, January 9, 2015 at the First Congregational Church, 2001 Niles Ave., St. Joseph with Rev. Dr. Robert Braman officiating. Friends may visit with the family from 4:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at Starks & Menchinger Chapel, 2650 Niles Rd., St. Joseph. The family requests that memorials be made to Sarett Nature Center or the First Congregational Church of St. Joseph. Those wishing to sign Bill’s Memory Book online may do so at www.starks-menchinger.com. Arrangements have been entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel & Cremation Services.